I will give you a short synopsis of my life in order to bring Glory and Praise to my King and Lord.
My life has been a difficult one, born into a family full of challenges. My father was a heavy alcoholic until his early 70’s; he stopped drinking only because his body could not take it anymore. He was kicking me even from the time I was in my mother’s womb. In his intoxicated state he would become extremely jealous and conjure up thoughts of my mother being unfaithful to him. He claimed the child she was carrying was not his. He would abuse her physically even as she was pregnant with me, by kicking her belly, so she would abort me.
I grew up watching my mother get horrible beatings. I was thrown against the wall time and time again, as I tried to defend her. As I grew up, 90 percent of my physical fights were due to me defending kids/folks suffering abuse by others. I understood as I connected the dots, that that came from being helpless to defend my mom when I was a child. When my two oldest brothers and myself were old enough to restrained my father and let him know that we would physically hurt him if he insisted on hurting our mom, the beatings stopped. I did physically hurt him whenever he got out of hand with my mom.
My dad was quite a womanizer and one of his other women could not have children, so he took my mother’s first born from her as a gift to his other lady. She raised him until he was 13 years of age. My mother suffered multiple beatings for trying to get him back. My oldest brother was reunited with us when we had to leave El Salvador. My two brothers and I were going to get drafted by the government or the left-wing militias when we were just kids, that is the reason we left our home land. I was also torn from my mother’s side when I was 2 years old and taken to live with my dad’s other woman, but I cried so much that I was returned back to my mother’s side when I was 3. My dad had also given me to his other woman. I only remember crying during that period of time. I am the youngest of three boys and my sister is the youngest of 4 kids.
The placed I grew up in from the time of my birth until I was 8, was so bad that my mom would keep us locked up all day while she worked. We lived in government housing surrounded by thieves, prostitutes and people who practiced witchcraft. I was literally caged up from the age of 3 until I was 7 years old and started to attend school. My dad was never around. My oldest brother would get out through a hole on the roof, I could have done the same but I rather stay behind the wire fence and observe people. We had no Television, so the people in the neighborhood were what I analyzed and study.
I was extremely anti social and loved solitude. My thoughts were my world. One of the few times my mother allowed me to go around the neighborhood I went out to look for a kid that was a lot older than me and who used to beat up my brother. I found him near a cliff and without hesitation I rushed to his side and pushed him with evil intentions. He landed inches from rocks that would have killed him, if he would have landed on them.
Every single member of my family experienced horrible demonic visitations, my mother suffered persecution from demons that pushed her to visit a couple of churches. We were not religious nor visited any church in a regular basis; we maybe visited 3 different churches in a year’s time, but only visited each one once. As I speak to my siblings about the experiences I had with demons, we conclude that we all had the same experiences of demons surrounding us and taunting us while we were paralyzed with fear.
When I started to go to school and walked to and fro from school I started to run into the neighborhood machete fights, where body parts would come off flying. Gun fights were also a common thing. I remember watching this one particular man whom I had come to know loose his armed in a fight as I was coming from school. He screamed my name for at least 15 minutes asking for my help, but it seemed to me to be hours. I was probably 7 years old at the time.
I also experiences the horrors of a civil war (El Salvador suffer a 13 year war) and the exodus of so many from the placed we called home. Getting separated from my mother as it rained bullets from M-16’s, while the military fought the gorillas was a common occurrence. To see decapitated, mutilated corpses on our way home or on our way to the city was common. We left my country because the gorillas were about to draft my two brothers and I. We had no choice in the matter.
Mental, physical and verbal abuse was heaped upon me as well as a kid. My family moved to California when I was 10. My father had been here for a couple of years already, he had left due to the war as well.
Like most people that have experienced such a cruel side of life, I was full of anger without even knowing it. Coming to South Central L.A. in 1981 did not help, but only created new challenges. Gangs were thriving back then. I was so accustomed to mayhem, pain and destruction that when God enter my life, after a while, the absence of the crazy life I lived before being in Christ, was something I actually missed, not consciously, but unconsciously. God of course had started the life long process of sanctification in my life and the process of healing me to enable me to overcome so much.
My mother did all she could to try and make us a good family. She was the glue. Among the many horrible stories I could write you about, is the memory of my oldest brother stabbing my second eldest brother centimeters from his heart. My dad shooting at us when we got into fights, my two brothers and I became addicted to cocaine as well. All the common pains that are associated with drug addiction became part of our lives for many, many years etc, etc etc…
I hated love and peace before Christ saved me. All I wanted was to become the best criminal ever, the best killer. A killer that kills killers. I did not ever want to hurt the innocent, according to what my twisted mind called innocent. I wanted to possess a coldness that would seem to the normal, everyday person, demonic to say the least. I wanted to be able to kill and laugh about it, but I was able to do this, only to those that take joy in oppressing the weak, in abusing the masses. My dream was to be able to kill someone with a smile on my face. I have been in multiple high speed police chases, involving helicopters and many police officer vehicles.
I gang-bang for a while, but it was not for me, I would end up fighting the hommies most of the time. They wanted to do pity crimes, many times against the people in the community. I would tell them that if they wanted to really do something, then we should rob a bank or hit homes in Beverly Hills. The first time I went to jail, I was charged with 12 counts of armed robbery, but was only convicted of the one I was caught. The detectives were able to crack my best friend and crime, he was convicted of two robberies. We were guilty of 4 of the twelve.
Everything I did had to do with a journey I took upon myself to take, at the early age of approximately thirteen; I set out to trained myself to become the perfect killer. I started myself training by seeking knowledge in three areas. I perceived at a young age that street, book/academic and spiritual knowledge were essentials to be a well equipped killer. I sought the positive side and the negative side of the knowledge that can be acquire in those three areas of life. I was subscribed to Popular Science, Stereo Review, Hot Rod, and the Discovery magazine. I also collected National Geographic’s. At the same time I read High Times, a magazine that specialized in growing the best Marijuana. I study with the Jehovah’s Witness for three years (they never shared the Gospel with me - incredible) and was looking also to buy the Satanic bible, God had his hand upon me and I never found it, I did finally read it as a Christian and I am currently contemplating writing a rebuttal to it.
My mom visited a few churches in her own search (growing up), but we never belong to any congregation and we were not religious in any way. While I concentrated on the positive experiences one can accumulate in my search for knowledge, all was well. I was never satisfy with the conclusions men came up with, to the tough question in life, so I was always seeking. Studying history only made me angrier since I was able to read about the many abuses human kind has suffered at the hands of dictators and their like.
I remember feeling like I owned the world after getting my specialize associates in business Administration, accounting being my major. I had suffered so much and yet, here I was graduating, fluently speaking a foreigner language. So even the positive side of worldly knowledge worked against me, pride had taken hold of me. I dove into the negative side of those areas and I was almost destroyed completely. I ended up in a prison with 4 years sentence. I remember vividly the moment the state bus pulled up to the prison - I thought (without a cinch of fear), I am home.
It was during my classification period in the penitentiary that I came to the knowledge of Christ. It was through my desire to know, to learn, that my encounter with the almighty was arranged. During the classification period, which lasted 3 months, I was held in a two men cell, but was by myself 90 % of the time. The inmate that served as a librarian passed my cell and asked me if I cared for reading material. I asked him for anything non-fiction. I have always loved to learn, so I told him I did not want novels, which I do enjoy from time to time haha, but to give me something factual. He threw under my cell door 2 little paper backs, one is called, From Prison to Praise, it was the testimony of an ex-gangster who became a preacher. The other one was, I think called "Jack the Surf," ummm something like that and it was the testimony of a professional criminal/thief turned preacher as well.
After reading these two books, with my heart prepared by God already, one night the Lord came into my cell, no, I did not see him nor did I have any idea what was happening then; but He stepped into my cell through the working of the Holy Spirit, He brought such conviction into my heart and mind (Which I fought for what seemed to me to be hours, as I tossed and turn on my bunk) that I had no choice but to fall on my knees weeping, sobbing, as I repented of my iniquities, and made a prayer that so many have cried out, while the Spirit would tell me over and over - you have sinned, you have sinned, repent. This was my prayer: "If you are there, if you are real, please change me, I am sorry, I 'm sorry. I am tire." I am so tire, help me. In the midst of my sobbing I heard him say – I LOVE YOU. I WILL CHANGE YOU, as He embraced me, as I had never been embraced before. The peace that surpasses all human understanding came into my life that day. I have never been the same since then. As soon as I could get my hands on a bible I started reading it. I was led by the Spirit to start in the Gospel of John. There were times that I did not even want to go to yard time because I was so into the stories. I cried with the word, as I learned about Stephen’s stoning and I laugh as I saw the power of the church. When I finally was allowed to come out for yard time, it was like seeing for the first time, I was truly reborn. I remember walking around (in a prison there is nothing to look at but gray walls) simply gazing at the clouds and the sky and a far away tree, as if it was the first time ever seeing them. It was awesome. I knew immediately that I was born for this, to preach and teach his word. When I finally got to go to a chapel service the Spirit led me to accept Christ in public, so I could break any shame that may come with being Christian in such a setting. I still remember that old servant that had driven miles through the dessert to bring us hope, the word, when he finish his service he turned on a small stereo and started playing “There is power, wonder working Power in the blood of the Lamb,” I sobbed again as I accepted Christ publically.
The three years I served were the best ones of my life up to then. I felled completely in love with God, the Holy Spirit and my Jesus. I would quickly get the nick name of the preacher everywhere I went in the prison system, where God gave me favor with the official chaplains and the guards. The guards would announce my daily bible study during yard time. I preached and taught the word for those three years and have not stopped since, for the exception of the time that like the pig I went back to the mud, after two years of being out, that is a whole other story, but if I was to start telling you about all the miracles and experiences, as far as God’s protection, healing and ability to supply our needs go, this would become a book, ha-ha. The Word of God became my best friend. It has not been easy to overcome so much and like Paul I am not saying I reached the finish line by any means, but like my beloved Paul, "I leave behind the pass and press forward towards the heavenly call in my life." I counted all rubbish in comparison to the knowledge of Christ. At times when I talk about my pass in the context of a testimony I am amazed how much God changed me. From a person that though about smoking a joint with his 16 year old kid (I don’t have kids, but if I had one I thought) to someone willing to die and live for Jesus.
Just amazing how much God changes us. Due to all the nonsense I had to endured and overcome I can now relate to so many. I can comfort them with the comfort God has given me. I feel comfortable by Gods’ grace and to his glory to speak to a scholar or to a homeless person on skid row. The experiences of working for some of the most powerful companies in the world and at the other extreme living in prison for years, has helped me become well rounded in many areas. Gods Spirit has been busy in my life turning all the nonsense to work for his kingdom and purposes. I also had plenty of unpleasant experiences in the body. As you know I am sure, our deepest hurts come from within the family as well as our deepest joys.
My father was a heavy alcoholic until recent years. He accepted Christ during our home bible study on November 4th, 2009. He was against Christianity until a couple of months ago. God is Awesome! My sister, brother and mother became Christians years ago, which leaves only my oldest brother from joining our family in Christ; I am sure that will be soon. God will finish what He started in my family. I have been in Christ for 16 years now and I am debating as to which school to attend to work on my Masters in Divinity.
God has been good to me. Praise Him!!!
My brother called my mom after months of not knowing where he was at or whether he was alive or not and informed her that he is in Teen challenge and has become a Christian. He will be in Teen challenge (Rehab program) for 1 year and all he talks about now is serving God.
Thank you all for praying for Him. I mentioned him at the end of my testimony blog as being the only one pending salvation in my immediate family. Now my whole family is saved. God is good. Praise HIm!!!!